Windflowers are blooming in our workplace arboretum. They have spread over the years through the spotty grass beneath the trees and have become a carpet of clear blue and white, reflecting a spring sky through winter-bare limbs.
The Grecian windflower, Anemone blanda, is one of those small flowers with a big personality. It is at once bold and demure, naturalizing almost aggressively but heliophilic to the extreme. It remains tightly closed at night and on cloudy days, resulting in vast washes of closed buds stubbornly waiting for the spring sunshine.
But when the sun appears...what a show. From a distance the colors are jewel bright and glow in the shafts of sunlight. Individually each daisy-like flower sits atop a slender stem, trembling like an aspen leaf in the breeze. Collectively this trembling gives the illusion of shimmering water.
Despite folklore to the contrary, the flowers in our small anemone sea are not short-lived. This is an especially welcome characteristic in early spring, when the vagaries of March weather may not yield a sunny day in a period of weeks.
I don't know who planted many of the flowers and trees in the arboretum. The windflowers are no exception. If I did I would send a picture, just to show how far the original planting has naturalized. And I would say thank you for that special gift that gardeners sometimes give, a small investment that compounds for years.